Re: HDD Sector Capacity Issues|
All excellent questions, which I can only offer my thoughts. Will continue to research.
>Is there any way to conveniently track capacity expansion or
I don't know that theres a -convenient- way; one has to track whats going on at every mfg in terms of facilities in development and planned. The "Infrastructure" (www.infras.com) publication may track these.
>upgrading in DD industry? Conversely, does capacity ever get shut >in, or is it easy to convert say from making 2GB drives to 8 or 9GB?
Transitioning to higher capacity points with today's suppliers and technology should be straightforward. Drives with near 20GB capacities are already in production using MR technology; IBM and QNTM seem to have the lead in this area. WDC, with their reliance on head suppliers who themselves appear to be behind the curve (APM and RDRT), may be the least drive-capacity maneuverable.
>Do you expect to see any bankruptcies among weaker players before >this down cycle is over, or will the weak merely be acquired by the >strong?
In the past we've seen large, dedicated moneylosers like Maxtor and Micropolis acquired for their expertise and brand name. However PC Week just reported that Singapore Tech, the acquirers of Micropolis, have shut it down.
The article is really poorly written and very unclear about what's really happened to Micropolis.
>What kind of lead time do you figure IBM may have on the new 10GB >drive technology, and is it a brand new technology or merely a >continuous incremental process improvement?
Are you referring to their GMR head technology? If so I'm not qualified to answer the question of IBM's lead in HDD technology. I exchanged email with an alleged QNTM employee who acknowledges IBM's supremacy in terms of sheer technology, but noted their historic inability to take low-cost leadership.
If anyone has more information PLEASE POST! And correct any errors I've made here.